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2007 Press Releases
New Morton Plant Mease Imaging Center Combines Advanced Radiology Testing While Soothing Senses

CLEARWATER, Fla., (February 6, 2007) - The sounds of a gentle waterfall and soft music. The subtle scent of ginger and aromatherapy. The touch of warm bamboo floors, cozy robes, and slippers. Morton Plant Mease MEDSpecialists – a new imaging center that partners Morton Plant Mease Health Care with the physicians of Radiology Associates of Clearwater – combines high quality, comprehensive radiology testing while appealing to patients’ five senses - sound, touch, smell, sight and taste.

“The patient experience is very important to us,” said David Nelson, director of outpatient imaging, Morton Plant Mease Health Care. “The spa-like atmosphere at Morton Plant Mease MEDSpecialists provides a pleasant, stress-free environment for patients.”

“During an MRI or PET/CT scan it’s important for the patient to lay completely still in order for the scan to produce the most accurate, clear images,” said Daniel S. Krop, Morton Plant Mease radiologist. “If a patient is relaxed and comfortable before the radiology test, then it’s going to be much easier for them to remain relaxed and still during the test.”

Among the first soothing touches visitors to Morton Plant Mease MEDSpecialists located at 1064 Keene Avenue in Dunedin may notice is the incorporation of feng shui into the design of the center. Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony with the environment. Orchids and mirrors in the lobby draw sunlight and nature in. Private “quiet” rooms allow patients to recline in comfort and relax prior to a radiology test. There is also a private room for family members and friends to enjoy a variety of refreshments including crisp apples, biscotti and juice. “But the best part of Morton Plant Mease MEDSpecialists is that the same attention we’re giving to patient comfort, is also being given to quality medical care,” added Nelson.

"This center provides an opportunity to demystify medical technology through the blending of design approaches that support, high touch, high tech, and wellness. In collaboration with our radiologists we have created an environment that allows our patients to be in an environment that is relaxing and devoid of a typical sterile environment that health care facilities have become know for," stated John D. Couris, administrator and chief operating officer, Morton Plant North Bay Hospital who also oversees the Morton Plant Mease outpatient center facilities. "We have created an on and off stage design so patients will never see the inner working of the facility."

The tranquil atmosphere accompanies the most advanced radiology testing available in North Pinellas County. MEDSpecialists features a 1.5T high-field open magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and a 40-slice spiral computed tomography (CAT scan) with an integrated positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. The 40-slice PET/CT produces high-resolution images in a fraction of a second capable of identifying cancerous tumors. The high-field MRI allows for optimum radiology testing of even the most challenging patients including claustrophobic, elderly and pediatric patients.

The center is also equipped with a picture archive communication system (PACS) – a computerized system that creates digital images of MRI and CT scans. PACS captures, stores and transmits radiology images electronically allowing physicians to view test results from a computer screen.

“With PACS, radiology test results are nearly instantaneous, providing the physician and patient with a potentially faster diagnosis and treatment,” said Nelson.

Morton Plant Mease MEDSpecialists Imaging is modeled after the Susan Cheek-Needler Breast Center located in the Powell Cancer Center on the campus of Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater. The center opened in February, 2002 and was the first facility of its kind in the Tampa Bay area to combine advanced medical technology with process improvements to reduce the time for the diagnosis of breast cancer from weeks to days, and to feature a soothing environment with fountains, murals and artwork, designed to give patients a sense of peace and serenity. The name of the center honors the memory of Carroll and Mable Cheek’s daughter, Susan, who died of breast cancer in 1997.

Nationally recognized for health care excellence, Morton Plant Mease Health Care is dedicated to providing community owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. Morton Plant Mease Health Care is comprised of the following hospitals – Morton Plant, Clearwater; Mease Dunedin, Dunedin; Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey.

Contact: Beth Hardy (727) 298-6199 Phone, (727) 419-4471 Pager or Amy Morrow (727) 461-8538 Phone, (727) 468-7586 Pager